Mental and Physical Development
Showing Independence There is nothing more willful than a teenager, and the same can be said for a puppy that has reached adolescence. Adolescence and full adulthood differ for puppies depending on size, breed and gender.
You may find that a female puppy is moody -- her behavior may range from insecure to aggressive -- as she experiences heat. Male puppies at this age can show signs of aggression, especially when around other male dogs. Your puppy will also exhibit attraction to dogs of the opposite sex during this phase.
Keep in mind that your puppy is not experiencing permanent changes in their behavior. They are merely showing signs of independence. Your puppy will also try to test their dominance during this time. Reinforcing established training techniques is key when navigating through this bratty stage of their lives. A well-trained puppy will be able to break out of this phase in no time and return to their old selves.
Proper Food Storage Now that your dog is eating adult food, you may be able to save money and time by buying food in bulk. But you won't be saving money if the food spoils before your dog can eat it.
Store the food properly to make sure you and your dog get the most out of it. Don't buy more than a month's supply of dry food at a time, and store the food in an airtight bin in a cool, dry place. Most dry dog food is sprayed with a coating of fat that can go rancid if kept in a warm environment.
Don't store the food next to poison, insect spray, gasoline products or anything that could permeate the food with its smell or toxins. Don't store it where rodents can chew through the bag or squeeze inside the bin and urinate or defecate on the food, and make sure insects -- or your own dog -- can't get in.
If you're the survivalist type who likes to stock up on food in case of emergency, invest in canned dog food.
Health and Veterinary Care: Annual Checkups
Now that your puppy is nearing adulthood, you may think the visits to the veterinarian are over. But your dog may still need to have a set of adult vaccinations, and they will need to see the vet each year for an annual checkup.
At the annual checkup, the vet will examine your dog thoroughly.
- To check for murmurs and signs of respiratory problems, the vet will listen to your dog's heart and lungs.
- The vet will feel your dog's abdominal area for enlarged organs or masses. They will also feel your dog's lymph nodes, as enlarged ones can indicate infections or some forms of cancer.
- A stool sample may be taken to check for intestinal parasites, and a blood specimen will be examined to check for heartworms, kidney disease and diabetes.
- To look for signs of an ear infection, the vet will look deep into your dog's ears with an otoscope. They will also check the dog's eyes and lids for problems.
- The vet will check your dog's teeth and gums, looking for periodontal disease, loose or broken teeth, or oral tumors.
- The vet may also check the anal sacs to see if they are enlarged.
- Older dogs should have a yearly blood test that checks the status of many organs. A urinalysis may also be done to test for kidney disease or diabetes in an early stage.
- For males, especially those that aren't neutered, the vet will check to see if the prostate is enlarged.
Training: Training Adult Dogs
Most dogs at this age are mentally and physically capable of any type of training routine, but they may take a little longer to learn a new task than they did when they were younger.
One-year-old dogs have a mind of their own, and it may be difficult for them to focus on the lesson. Dogs at this age may also test their owners during a lesson with dominant actions.
Whether a dog is eight weeks old, one year old or 10 years old, positive reinforcement is the only way to train a dog. This type of technique focuses on rewarding training commands that were performed the proper way with treats, petting and praise. Lessons should take place at least twice a day and last no more than 10 to 15 minutes.